Isaiah’s song

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 ESV)

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.” The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD. O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them. But you have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. O LORD, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. (Isaiah 26:1-19 ESV)

“We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.” The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD. O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them. But you have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. O LORD, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. (Isaiah 26:1-19 ESV)

Blessings

Advertisements

The secret of victory

“The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760, able to go to war. They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him. They carried off their livestock: 50,000 of their camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys, and 100,000 men alive. For many fell, because the war was of God. And they lived in their place until the exile.” (1 Chronicles 5:18-22 ESV)

So they were expert in war. They knew what to do, how and when to do it.They had all they need to win, but they also knew that victory depended on God.  And it is the way we have to live our life, the way we have to wage our wars. We do all we can with all the means God provided and we cry out to him and wait for Him. If our wars are of God, then no worries we will win. Even if the battle is hard, we will win because the Lord of hosts is the one fighting.  If your war is not of God,  you don’t even want to win.  Remember what God did to Israel, He even gave them a king in His anger. “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. (Psalm 81:11-12 ESV).

How do you know that your war is of God? Well, that is another story. For sure, if you submit to Him and don’t insist on your own way (when whatever you do compromise your relationship with God or His standards), you know that whatever happens to you, good or bad, is from Him and is a victory.

And if troubles meant love

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22

Jesus got baptized and God proclaimed how much He loved Him. Next think we know He was 40 days in the desert, tempted by Satan. Then He went to Galilee and was almost killed by His people. So that’s what being loved by God can  look like.

I tend to think  that  if God is for and with me, everything should be  easy and agreeable. And maybe you are a bit like me. But sometimes it is not the case. Sometimes God’s love looks like hardships and pain. So take a deep breath and enjoy God’s love for you whatever It looks like.

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry…  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all… And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. Luke 4: -2; 14-15; 29

A Gracious and Holy God

Their prince shall be one of themselves; their ruler shall come out from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the LORD. And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Jeremiah 30:21-22

While I was reading through Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, I was awestruck by God’s holiness. People could not come near Him as they wanted. There were rules, conditions, and requirements. Even when you wanted to make a sacrifice and to offer a gift, there were conditions. You could not just bring whatever you wanted, as you wanted. (Exodus 19: 10-25, Leviticus 1; 10, Numbers 4:18-20)

Those books remind me of a song verse, “Grateful that you hear us when we shout your praise.” This song verse and those books remind me that I should be grateful to approach God and to pray to Him. They remind me that God is not obliged to hear me even when I praise Him. When I praise Him, when I sacrifice to Him and for Him, it is a privilege. It is my privilege.

Paul told the Philippians that they have been given the privilege of suffering for Christ (Philippians 1:29). To be with God, to serve Him, to speak to and with Him, to read His word, to suffer and sacrifice for Him, to be persecuted in His name and to be single for his sake are privileges. Privileges acquired for us by Christ on the cross.

God gains nothing when we do those things. He is God and will always be. He will never change. Even if there was no believer in the entire universe, He will still be God. Even if all humans were to go to hell, He will still be God, good and gracious. He is holy and only through His grace can we approach Him and serve Him and suffer for Him. If Christ did not redeem me, I have no idea where I would be. And it is my privilege to say “Thank you Lord.”

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:16-18

Happy New Year

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:17-18)

Here is the New Year! We took decisions, we made prayers and we are full of hope. But we are uncertain. We don’t know if the year will turn out the way we want to, if God will answer us the way we would like to.  But there are two things we can be sure of.

First, God is God and will be God until the end of this year (and after, of course). He will be the same. He is going to be faithful, to care for us and to love us in a way we cannot even begin to imagine. He is going to be sovereign and all-powerful and good. And so good. His mercies will be new every morning and we could always draw near Him.

Secondly, there will be sufferings, pain. God will discipline us. If you are His child,  with love and tenderness, He will discipline you (Hebrews 12:3-10). But if you don’t forget who He is, if you run to Him when it is hard, if you keep your eyes on Jesus, if you don’t forget that He took your punishment and gave you everlasting joy, everything will be fine. Because at the end of the day, it depends on the One who died on the cross for us. It depends on the One who can do anything.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 )

What is certain?

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Revelation 21:5-6

Few things are trustworthy and sure in this life. When it is hard, people tend to remind us of Romans 8:28 as if it meant that everything will be OK. No, not everything will be OK in this life. At least God never promised such a thing. Life is hard, illogical, uncertain and unfair. But we will stop being angry, frustrated and anxious if we knew what is trustworthy and sure. And we will be able to be still, hope and rest.

We can be sure that God exists and that He rewards those who believe in Him (Hebrews 11:6). We can be sure of His heart as describes in the Holy Scriptures, which can be so different from what our favorite preachers say about.

We can also be sure that Christ came, died and raised from the death and now is at the right hand of God. And that because of Him, of what He has done, one day, we will be with Him and all will be fine (Titus 3: 4-8).

In the meantime things are not that fine. We expect things from God that He never promised. And we don’t understand why He does not give them to us. We expect Him to do it the way we have been taught He should be doing it, the way we think He should work. And we are disappointed.

So many frustrations because we don’t know the truth, we don’t know His truth, we don’t know Him. No wonder why Paul’s Goal was to know Christ (Philippians 3:8-11). In Him are hidden all the secrets of God (Colossians 2:3).  If you really know Christ, you understand life.

I know it is Christmas soon and that everything should be good and beautiful and everyone should be nice to us, especially God. But things don’t work that way, at least not in the Bible, not in God’s world. Life is hard, but we can be certain that after this life everything will be fine.

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us; 
2 Timothy 2:10-12